FINANCE

Dollar General Store Sales Jump in 4Q

BY CSA STAFF

Goodlettsville, Tenn. Dollar General reported Tuesday that total sales for the fourth quarter, ended Jan. 30, hit $2.85 billion, an 11.2% increase from $2.56 billion in 2007. The chain’s same-store sales also jumped 9.4% during the quarter.

For the fiscal year, the chain reported total sales of $10.46 billion, a 10.1% increase compared to $9.50 billion for fiscal 2007. Same-store sales for the year increased 9.0%.

The company credits the increases to strategic operating initiatives implemented during the year that increased both customer traffic and average ticket size. Seasonal merchandise and other discretionary item sales were also impacted by the weak economy and a shorter holiday selling season, the company said.

These successes are pushing the chain to accelerate new store openings in 2009. Dollar General plans to open approximately 450 new stores, and will remodel or relocate approximately 400 stores.

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Back from the brink

BY CSA STAFF

Shares of Target came close to falling below the $30 level last week for the first time since early December, after January’s sales results brought a sigh of relief from the market that had braced for the worst. The negative 3.3% same-store sales figure the company reported was actually a fairly solid showing given that consumer spending on discretionary products such as apparel and home furnishings has stalled.

News of the sales decline actually moved shares higher by $1.26 and they closed last Thursday at $32.29. The upward trend continued on Friday and extended through Monday when shares closed at $XX.XX, well above the 52-week low of $25.60 recorded on Nov. 19. Even so, shares of Target have a lot of ground to recover as they traded above $60 for most of 2007 and remained above $50 for most of 2008 until a late year free fall that resulted from the rapid deterioration in economic conditions.

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Amazon.com unveils Amazon Kindle 2

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE Amazon.com introduced Amazon Kindle 2, the new reading device that offers Kindle’s revolutionary wireless delivery of content in a new slim design with longer battery life, faster page turns, over seven times more storage, sharper images, and a new read-to-me feature. Kindle 2 is purpose-built for reading with a high-resolution 6-inch electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, which lets users read for hours without the eyestrain caused by reading on a backlit display.

More than 230,000 books are now available in the Kindle Store, including 103 of 110 current New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases, which are typically $9.99. Top U.S. and international magazines and newspapers plus more than 1,200 different blogs are also available. Kindle 2 is available for pre-order starting today for $359 at http://amazon.com/kindle2 and will ship Feb. 24.

“Kindle 2 is everything customers tell us they love about the original Kindle, only thinner, faster, crisper, with longer battery life, and capable of holding hundreds more books. If you want, Kindle 2 will even read to you — something new we added that a book could never do,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “While we’re excited about Kindle 2, we know that great hardware is useless without vast selection. That’s why the Kindle Store offers customers over 230,000 books.”

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